- Water-tight security in Kano •7 churches, 8 shops razed - Police
- Terror suspect nabbed with N3m •As army uncovers bomb factory
- 2012, deadliest year for journalists - UN
- Court adjourns on missing N12.4bn oil windfall
- Why we cleared Molete under-bridge - Oyo govt
- Court jails courier over $286,400 cash
- Court rejects fridge repairer’s plea to keep Ibori’s bribe money
- Oyo to involve artisans in N.5bn schools rehabilitation contracts
- All set for LG poll today in Benue
- Mrs Braithwaite buried amid encomiums
- Forget presidency, Jonathan’s aide tells ex-military rulers
- FG sends delegation to Onaiyekan’s consecration, Suntai
I’m Not Through With Women Yet •Says Man With 97 Wives Who Plans To Marry More
Controversial Islamic Cleric with 97 wives, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Masaba, in this interview with ADELOWO OLADIPO, at his country home in Bida, Niger State, says he is ready to confront the Boko Haram sect. Excerpts:
WHAT was your immediate reaction to the news of your sudden death last Saturday and how did you feel by the incident that threw many of your followers into confusion, shock and disbelief ?
At about 1:30 p.m. on the fateful Saturday, I received a phone call. I did not know who the caller was, neither had I saved the number in my phone book. When I picked the call and tried to exchange pleasantries with the caller, he responded in Hausa language.
He requested to speak with Alhaji Mohammed Bello Masaba and I said I was the one speaking to him and I asked him who gave him my phone number. He expressed surprise that I was still alive despite the fact that he had been fed with lies of my sudden death. The caller informed me that he was calling from Kano State to confirm the rumour doing the round in the state that I was dead. I thanked him for his concern about my welfare and I explained to him that if my time were to be up, I would definitely had died. I thereby pleaded with him that if he was asked by his people about my health condition, he should tell them that I was hale and hearty and that I was not suffering from headache, stomach pains or any other ailment whatsoever and that I am with my teeming followers, some of whom I live with at my country home in Bida. And I counted the numbers of calls I received both from within and outside the country on the fateful Saturday to be about 125 phone calls from the people who wanted to express their concern about the rumour. I received phone calls from Kano, Sokoto, Abuja, Nasarawa and even from so many people from Lagos State, where I was residing before I returned back home to Bida some years ago. Many people also trooped to my house to catch a glimpse of me and to ascertain the fact that I was not dead despite the wicked rumour being peddled by my detractors, who want me dead.
Going by the large number of people who are still coming to confirm if you are dead and the series of telephone calls being received by you, are you afraid that you may die very soon and leave your 97 wives and many children behind?
I am not afraid at all because I am a servant of Allah and I am more emboldened that those disgruntled elements, who are opposed to what I am doing, are ungodly people. They have tried so many times in the past to distract me, but I am not bothered because God has always made me triumph over them despite their evil machinations. However, I do not nurse ill feelings against them because they are so insignificant even in the presence of God. In the past, those who have seen me as their enemies that should be conquered have tried unsuccessfully to harm me in the spirit world, but their occultism has no effect on me and my household. These people I am referring to are not Christians, but my fellow Muslim brothers, who are not comfortable with what I am doing. But, my hope is in God Almighty, who has been shielding me from their evil plans against me. These people are in the habit of destroying men of God for saying the truth and I think this is not good enough. Among Christians and Muslims, there are those with good intentions, but there also exists the bad eggs among the adherents of the two dominant religions.
Why do you think they are fighting you?
The fact remains that those who are telling the truth or doing the right things and condemning openly what they consider as bad, can never work with those whose paths are crooked or perpetual liars. Do you believe that I have been informed about the identities of the people who are spreading falsehood against me and I was advised to go and report them to the security agencies. But, my response is that they should be left alone because I am not bothered by their antics since they are mere human beings and inconsequential persons in the presence of God. As far as I am concerned, I have turned deaf ears to them.
What are your views about the security challenges that are facing the country with regards to bomb attacks against the Christian fold, part of which led to reprisal attacks on some Muslims last week in Kaduna state?
Well, any Muslim that has been involved in such dastardly acts or who are planning to join forces with such terrorist groups to unleash mayhem on the Christians during worship periods at their churches have become accused persons before God. Also, any group of Christians who are planning to attack their Muslim brothers and sisters at the Mosques during Juma’at service would also be condemned before God. But, what we have witnessed so far in some parts of the country about the attacks on churches by some terrorist groups, under the auspices of Boko Haram sect, should not be considered as religious wars but such group of individuals are disgruntled elements. If we, Muslims, must be sincere to ourselves in this country, how many times have our Christian brothers gone to attack us with dangerous weapons whenever we are praying at our mosques in any part of the country? The decisions of some undesirable elements, who have resorted to killing innocent citizens who are mostly ordinary Nigerian and members of the Christian fold, should be condemned by every right-thinking person. But the Federal and state governments should be held responsible for their inabilities to arrest and prosecute such offenders since the beginning of the crises in the country, so that it will serve as deterrent to other people who might have been planning to launch attacks on both public and private properties, as well as killing and maiming of their fellow compatriots under whatever disguise.
Are you satisfied that both the government and the citizens are yet to find lasting solution to the issues of Boko Haram sect’s illegal activities?
Well, we are behaving as if we are short-sighted in this country, bearing in mind the fact that the civil war, which was fought to keep this country as one indivisible entity, was fought between 1967 and 1970. After the civil war, nobody has ever heard that any individual or group of persons had thrown bombs anywhere in this country until recently.
Any discernible mind ought to have wondered why there has been prevalence of bomb attacks with the Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s civilian administration at the centre. The government should look inward and take a cursory look at the history of the previous administrations and research into what is responsible for the incessant bomb attacks in some parts of the country and why the government has been rendered helpless in the face of the daunting security challenges posed by the ugly trend.
The question Nigerians should ask Mr. President is, “for how long would he continue to watch helplessly until his government is brought down by some undesirable elements?” Concerning my people in the northern parts of the country, they should ask themselves an honest question: “why is it that this bomb explosions have been happening in the northern parts of the country and they have never heard of similar ugly incidents in the South-West geo political zone of the country with equally large numbers of Muslim faithful and Christian adherents?”
It is very sad that our leaders, who are supposed to talk, condemn the ugly incidence as well as proffer lasting solution to this problem, have kept sealed lips over this shameful and ungodly trend in our midst. I am now wondering whether we should allow these undesirable elements to destroy the peace of our people and portray us as a bad people before our leaders in the northern parts of the country would rise to the occasion and stop the madness among our youths.
Why are you are so bold to talk like this? Don’t you think you can be attacked by this so-called “faceless elements”?
My annoyance is borne by the fact that the government has not come out boldly to say that it has successfully prosecuted and convicted some of the suspected Boko Haram members in their custody. As regards the question of if they can come and attack me, well, I am not afraid of them and I do not even know if they exist at all. If they are bold to have the audacity to come and attack me, I do not know if anything happens on the surface of the earth that God does not know about. If they dare try to come here, God would expose them to me before they take off from their hideout or base. They are faceless people and whoever kills his fellow human being will not find the favour of God, both on earth and in the hereafter.
Your critics were of the view that if truly you were dead it might be blamed on your decision to marry more than enough women.
I have not had enough wives in view of the fact that I have married 97. I am not yet prepared to put an end to it until I grow very old. Whoever is fighting me because of my love for saying the truth, doing the will of God and my admiration for women is not fighting me, but such people are waging war against God, their creator because I see nothing wrong in what I am doing. I did not create myself and left to me, I do not need more than two or three wives, but it has pleased God to bless me with 97 wives. My advice to the Nigerian government at all levels is that they should please have the interest of the people they are ruling at heart and provide for the needs of the people. Let us assume that the whole population of the citizenry is about 100 people nationwide; only 10 per cent of the population are living comfortably, while the remaining 90 per cent of the population are suffering.Share